This Women's History Month, Mennonite Women USA celebrates women's and girls' access to education and grieves the many barriers to equitable education around the world. Supporting gender equity in education is important peacebuilding work. UNICEF says this, "Girls’ education strengthens economies and reduces inequality. It contributes to more stable, resilient societies that give all individuals – including boys and men – the opportunity to fulfil their potential. But education for girls is about more than access to school. It’s also about girls feeling safe in classrooms and supported in the subjects and careers they choose to pursue – including those in which they are often under-represented." 
The World Bank says this, "Both individuals and countries benefit from girls’ education. Better educated women tend to be more informed about nutrition and healthcare, have fewer children, marry at a later age, and their children are usually healthier, should they choose to become mothers." The need for quality education begins with girls in grade school, but often requires university level education to achieve vocational goals and callings.

Mennonite Women USA's International Women's Fund scholarships currently support 37 women from 15 countries as they pursue higher education and live into their callings as spiritual leaders in their communities. Thank you for your generous gifts for these scholarships as we partner together in this special form of peacebuilding, justice, and supporting women's equity in education and church leadership.

Esther Muhagachi among First Women to Be Ordained By Tanzania Mennonite Church
Esther Muhagachi was ordained on January 22, 2023 in Shirati, Tanzania. She and five others are the first women to be ordained by Tanzania Mennonite Church. Esther is a graduate of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) and a recipient of Mennonite Women USA’s International Women’s Fund (IWF) scholarship for church leadership training.   
Esther says: “I am very grateful for the support received from IWF while at AMBS. I am now working hard in empowering women in leadership and encouraging more women to pursue their dreams focusing on their call.”  
In 2016 she translated the Sister Care manual into Swahili and hosted a seminar in Dodoma, Tanzania taught by Carolyn Heggen and Rhoda Keener. Since then, she has taught numerous seminars and coordinates the Sister Care and Compassionate Care ministry in East Africa.   
Esther works at Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT) as the Program Officer for WomenDevelopment Children and Gender.  Keep her in your prayers as she is laying the foundation for supporting women through MAMA NAWEZA PROGRAM. She is married to Bishop Amos Muhagachi; their home is in Dodoma, Tanzania. 

Today, on International Women's Day, Brooke calls us to be,
Here and Not Yet All at Once

This verse in James has been a favorite of mine since I was a teen; even though I know it has been used to harmpointed to as a reason to accept your circumstances and not “complain” about injustice. But I do not think that is what James had in mind. To me, choosing joy has nothing to do with resigning yourself to suffering. Rather, it means listening for the sound of birds, or celebrating a holiday to its fullest, or calling a good friend just so she can make you laugh. It means taking stock of your circumstances and choosing to focus on the good stuff, rather than the bad. It’s a way of cultivating perseverance through trials.
How many times a day are we bombarded with the message that we are lacking? If we aren’t partnered, we will never be secure. If we never have a child, we will never be fulfilled. If we don’t look a certain way, we aren’t beautiful. If we don’t wear a certain brand, we aren’t fashionable. These are just a few of the messages women receive every day from ads, social media, our friends, family, and sometimes just random strangers in the street. Our culture is built on being incomplete. If we were enough, we wouldn't need to buy anything to make us whole. But it is Truth that each of us, alone, is enough.
This is not to say that we don't need anyone or that we don't have anything in our lives that needs improving. Obviously, relationships are vital and there is always room for personal betterment. But this wholeness seems to me to be like the Kingdom. Here and not yet all at once. We can declare our wholeness, all the while recognizing that we have much to learn and a ways to go. But if we live in the not yet, we miss out on what is here and now. If we are constantly focused on what we lack, we miss what we already have.
We have been through trials, and we have persevered by choosing joy. Now I declare each of us whole and complete. Always continuing to learn and improve, but focused on what we have, not what we lack. There are many things we desire for ourselves in the future; but for today, we are whole and complete, not lacking anything.
You're Invited!

People are talking about Women Talking, the Oscar nominated movie that wrestles with what to do about women's disproportionate expereince of sexual violence. Do you want to talk about it too? Women Talking is the fictionalized story of women responding to a real event of horrific, systematized and routine rape. The real event took place in a particular, isolated colony of Mennonites in Bolivia. The colony doesn't represent all Mennonites, but our shared faith in nonviolent conflict resolution set up the narrative tension to imagine any group of women seeking safety and gender equality beyond the patriarchal visions that we take for granted.

Join MWUSA on Saturday, April 1 at 1pm ET for our next Coffee and Conversation to discuss the film, Women Talking. Here’s the link to watch the movie on Amazon for $4. It’s still in theaters, so it’s not streaming anywhere. Click the RSVP button to let us know you're planning to join in for this Coffee and Conversation film discussion on April 1.
MWUSA will be talking about this film on Saturday, April 1 and we hope you'll join in. What else should we talk about? Click the button below to propose another topic of conversation, and we'll gather via Zoom with mugs of our favorite drink to share what's on our minds and listen with our hearts. Real Mennonite women talking: what do you say?

MWUSA Donors enable women to come together in hope, healing and solidarity. We circle around the Bible, guided by women authored Study Guides. We are part of an international gathering of women who reflect on self care and each other care through Sister Care. Pooling our support for Scholarships makes new spiritual leadership possible every semester. God moves in our Conversations and Moves Us to places of growth. Every time we come together in person and online we make ever more links so our gifts and networks can bind the world in God's love.

We make a difference so our sisters can make a difference.
Donating makes a difference.